Thursday, February 23, 2012

The corporation represents the event horizon of the singularity.

It is an artificial intelligence, composed of the combined intelligence of its shareholders, its management and workers, but with an agenda independent from any of them.

Cle...arly the interlocking boards of directorship and holding of shares has created a amalgamated mind made of many corporations all working if not in concert, towards common goals.

Clearly this hive mind, a product of our hive activity, has grown in complexity beyond our comprehension.

Clearly, it is the singularity.

On the president as alien - The Washington Post

On the president as alien - The Washington Post
If you buy into the idea of democracy as a way to bring individuals and groups of differing goals and agendas together into a dialogue with the goal of seeking and forging a common pathway, than using these techniques to devalue "the other"... is a clear path to make their choices unacceptable and that common pathway unachieveable. It undermines the idea of democracy as a unifiying mechanism and turns the idea of majority rule into just another way to eliminate dissent and choice
 I wonder about the underlying trajectory of some connecting links.....politics has always been about power and violence, verbal or otherwise, has always been an intregal part of that environment. But given the changing nature of our media a...ccessibility and the increasing role in both dialogue and action of "money as speech", the increasing complexity of our social environment (the broadest definition), that this seriously emphasizes the role that critical thinking plays in making choices. Then relate that to the changing educational environment for children which increasingly emphasizes "teaching to the test" to achieve statistical dominance as opposed to educating "how to think" processes and information as the fuel for that thinking. Are these two differing trends creating an environment where "money as speech" effectively replaces democracy, and the tools it uses, as arbitraters of our choices ?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I recently read two items and became aware of an event that highlighted some of the issues with genetically modified organisms. In the January 2012 issue of Scientific American there were two interesting columns on this subject:
"Tweaking Photosynthesis",  (

"Pond Scum to the Rescue", David Biello interviewing J. Craig Venter, January 2012

And an event :
Late last month in downtown Manhattan, Judge Federal Court Judge Naomi Buchwald heard the first arguments in OSGATA et al. versus Monsanto, a groundbreaking lawsuit brought by The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) on behalf of 83 farmer plaintiffs, who are “seeking court protection under the Declaratory Judgment Act, from Monsanto-initiated patent infringement law.

Most of Tweaking Photosynthesis is about improving the efficiency of photosynthesis, or altering it's nature in some way to make greener fuel.....and using genetic manipulation as the method to achieve this. Or to replace photosynthesis altogether with other processes. Pond Scum to the Rescue was about using genetic tools to rewrite the genetic code and "get cells to do what we want them to do". It's about engineering algae cells to produce liquid fuel in quantities 10 to 100 times normal cells.
These articles are a very small sample of the type of products genetic manipulation can potentially produce and give a backdrop to the Manhatten lawsuit against Monsanto. All of these GMO organisms have the potential to genetically mix, in natural ways, with wild and/or domestic counterparts and passing on those GM characteristics causing a significant loss of revenue to the designing companies. Monsanto is claiming that their patent rights give them ownership of any plant displaying any GM characteristics designed by them no matter what the method of genetic mixing was. That is a potentially devastating blow to any farm.  The implications of this lawsuit, while highly significant in ownership of our food supply, has major significance in human healthcare both in ownership of processes and the result of those processes. If thru patent rights Monsanto can own the product of your labors independent of anything else what does that mean for healthcare companies who own the patent design on GM's that affect you ?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Real Challenge

These three articles are linked from an energy demand that we are going to have a huge struggle to meet, an influx into government of people unwilling to work within a framework of a global agenda, or even a national agenda, and the devastating consequences of those issues.

In fact, at the global level, in order to shift away from a world that gets 81 percent of its energy from fossil fuels and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide to just 14 gigatons per year, here is what the International Energy Agency says will have to be built every year between now and 2050: 35 coal-fired and 20 gas-fired power plants with carbon capture and storage; 30 nuclear power plants; 12,000 onshore wind turbines paired with 3,600 offshore ones; 45 geothermal power plants; 325 million square meters-worth of photovoltaics; and 55 solar-thermal power plants. That doesn’t even include the need to build electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in order to shift transportation away from burning gasoline
These new energy infrastructures would have to be spread over areas ten to a thousand times larger than today’s infrastructure of fossil fuel extraction, combustion and electricity generation…. This is not an impossible feat, but one posing many regulatory, technical and logistic challenges.”

When the universities were doing well — and in many parts of the world, they have just enjoyed decades of expansion — the concentration of scientific research within their walls was more or less entirely beneficial. When the economic storm struck in 2008, the ride came to an abrupt end. Now, as Western governments attempt to maintain investment in science as a route to innovation and industrial development, they are undermining support for students and the quality of their education. Instead of joining with students and teaching staff elsewhere in academia in protest, too many scientific leaders have stood aloof. (Martin Rees, until this month the president of the Royal Society in London, is a notable exception.) Strategically, this approach is a disaster in waiting.

China and India know this and are building universities from the ground up, with a firm emphasis on student education as their bedrock of energy and ideas. In the United Kingdom and elsewhere, these foundations are being demolished, and students drowned in debt, to keep researchers' grants flowing. It can only end badly, and more in the scientific establishment should have the courage to say so.
Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.

Polar bears have become the icons of this climate threat. But scientists say that tens of thousands of smaller species that live in the tropics or on or near mountaintops are equally, if not more, vulnerable. These species, in habitats from the high plateaus of Africa to the jungles of Australia to the Sierra Nevada in the United States, are already experiencing climate pressures, and will be the bulk of the animals that disappear